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Video: About The Quality Of Planting Tubers And Their Preparation
Read the previous part. ← Choosing a potato variety as a component of the harvest
Importance of potato seed quality and preparation
The quality of planting tubers and their pre-planting preparation have a significant impact on the development and yield of potatoes. Spring preparation of planting material includes a whole range of activities to ensure the even development of plants.
The physiology of potato tubers is arranged in such a way that after harvesting, the state of their "rest" sets in. It lasts 6-8 months, and then their spring germination begins. The duration of the dormant period depends on several factors: potato variety; the degree of maturity of tubers during harvesting; air temperature during the entire growing season; air temperature at the place where tubers are stored. The latter is the most important. If the tubers are stored at temperatures above + 5 ° C, then the tubers of most varieties will begin to germinate in March, and if the temperature is higher, then even earlier.
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In the spring, before germination, all seed tubers are carefully checked again for the presence of any symptoms of fungal or bacterial diseases. When bulkheading seed tubers, it is necessary to select healthy, clean ones (without suspicious spots or scab-like growths). Planting unhealthy tubers contributes to the spread of disease and makes it necessary to renew the seed again, that is, to acquire new seed tubers. Also unsuitable for planting tubers with an irregular (atypical for this variety) shape - pear-shaped, elongated, spindle-shaped or any other ugly shape. Such tubers, as a rule, give a low yield and degenerate bushes.
Planting tubers must also be calibrated by size (mass) into the following fractions: very small (up to 25 g), small (26-45 g), medium (46-85 g), large (86-125 g) and very large (more 125 g). This sorting allows you to evenly plant the tubers according to the distance between them. Indeed, for each fraction it is necessary to observe a certain distance between plants. For example, for small tubers, a smaller distance is needed (15-18 cm), and for all subsequent fractions it increases according to size.
It is known that, as a rule, the mass of the tuber affects the productivity of the plant. However, this is not always confirmed. Scientific experiments have proven that from small tubers you can get the same yield as from large ones. Therefore, in order to save money with a lack of seed tubers of the required size, large tubers cut in half can be used. At the same time, the difference in the yield of various seed fractions, subject to all the requirements of agricultural technology, will be insignificant.
If the tubers were stored at temperatures above 5-6 ° C, then their inherent dormancy period is violated, and this leads to the fact that they germinate ahead of time. In a dark place, the sprouts stretch in length up to 30 cm or more. When planted, these sprouts tend to break. I want to warn some fans of early germination: too early and strong germination of tubers (more than one month before planting) reduces the productivity of plants, because a significant part of the growth energy is consumed during their germination.
If the sprouts, after being pulled out of the place of cold storage, already have a length of more than 4-5 cm, they must be broken off, since secondary ones will grow in their place under optimal germination conditions. It is necessary to germinate seed tubers in a bright place at a temperature of 10-15 ° C. The tubers turn green in the light. At the same time, the alkaloid solanine is formed in them, which helps to increase the protective properties of the plant against diseases. For sprouting tubers, you can use shallow boxes, for example, the so-called "Bulgarian" from under tomatoes or grapes. They are shallow, which allows you to place tubers in them in 2-3 layers, and at the same time they provide the necessary all-round transillumination, even if they are stacked in stacks of 4-5 pieces.
It should be noted that the recommended modern Russian, Belarusian and Ukrainian varieties are characterized by a complex of economically useful traits: good yield and keeping quality during storage, resistance to cancer, late blight, viruses, scab, rhizoctonia, and some - to golden potato nematode. They are less demanding on soil fertility than foreign varieties. Breeders from far abroad do not work on the genetic resistance of varieties to diseases, as they believe that it is easier to apply chemical protection. The varieties of the CIS countries are more resistant to diseases.
Foreign varieties are of interest mainly due to their resistance to golden potato nematode, to individual viruses and their complexes, as well as their suitability for processing into potato products (dry mashed potatoes, french fries, chips, etc.).
The attractive appearance of tubers, their shape, their evenness are highly valued, which largely determines consumer demand and significantly affects the price. The color of the peel and pulp, the depth of the eyes, and the taste characteristics are also important. Dry matter content and starch content remain important indicators. As noted above, the suitability of varieties for processing and production of various potato products is becoming more and more relevant.
I would like to give some advice to gardeners on how to preserve the varietal qualities of this crop and provide themselves with seed potatoes for many years. Every gardener can achieve high quality seed potatoes if he follows some basic rules of growing.
First, it is necessary to comply with all the requirements of agricultural technology from planting to harvesting and storage. The site must be well-groomed, without weeds, soil cultivation must be of high quality and timely, as well as plant care during the entire growing season. Secondly, it is necessary to observe the change of crops on the site. Continuous cultivation of potatoes in one place contributes to the accumulation of diseases and pests, as well as some types of weeds. It has been proven that the use of crop rotation (4-6-year crop rotation) provides not only an increase in yield, but also a significant reduction in losses from diseases and pests. At the same time, potatoes can only be cultivated after certain predecessors.
If any symptoms of diseases appear on the plants during the growing season, they must be removed from the site along with the roots - this is called phyto-cleaning. To protect potatoes from such a harmful disease as late blight, it is necessary to spray the plants with fungicides in a timely manner. And if they do not help much and the tops are already affected by 50-60%, then the extreme, but effective measure is to mow and destroy the tops. Mowed not only to protect against late blight, but also to improve the storage quality (keeping quality of tubers). Such an event is held 10-14 days before harvesting. This contributes to the fact that the peel ripens better, thanks to this it is not damaged during harvesting, which means that the high keeping quality of the tubers is ensured.
Many gardeners do not correctly select seed tubers for planting next year. They do this only after they have removed all the potatoes and poured them into one pile, dividing the tubers into small and large: small for planting, and large ones for seeds. This leads to the fact that after a few years the yield is much lower, and the tubers are almost all small. To avoid this, it is necessary to use only tubers from healthy, powerful and productive plants for seed purposes.
It is necessary to annually select the strongest plants both during the growing season (with the full development of the bush) and during harvesting. During flowering, you need to select the most powerful and multi-stemmed, healthy bushes and mark them with something so that during harvesting you can easily find them, and, after evaluating the harvest, you have to decide: leave for seeds or use for food. For seeds, only those bushes are selected that have the number of tubers inherent in this variety (as a rule, at least ten). And it is not necessary that the tubers are large. And from bushes that were powerful during the growing season, but gave only 4-5 tubers, you should not leave potatoes for seeds, just because in the next generations their offspring will be the same, or even worse.
Immediately after harvesting, all tubers must be dried for a week, or even two, depending on the harvesting conditions. After drying, each tuber is carefully examined again: brown spots may appear on the tubers affected by late blight, and then such specimens must be removed. Tubers with cracks and cuts and other defects are discarded and used for food.
Seed tubers can be planted immediately after harvest. This promotes better storage and preserves their protective properties until the beginning of potato development in the next growing season. Tubers selected for seeds must also be examined in order to identify varietal impurities, as well as diseased specimens.
For storage, it is necessary to create conditions that would provide the planting material with good keeping quality. At this time, it is necessary to constantly monitor so that rot does not appear among the stored tubers. This significantly reduces the seed quality of the material. Therefore, all sick, rotten tubers are immediately removed.
In conclusion, I want to advise everyone who is going to purchase planting material to take this seriously. Do not buy it in the market for ware potatoes, in villages, on the roads or from private individuals, but only where you are guaranteed the varietal quality of seed potatoes. When buying, it is necessary to demand from the seller a certificate or a certificate for seeds, and also check whether he has the right (license) to sell seed potatoes.
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